FARMINGTON – Split divisions of the Jack Cole Stakes, one of the most prestigious stakes races for New Mexico-bred thoroughbreds, were held Saturday afternoon at SunRay Park and Casino.
Here’s a recap of each of the two divisions of the event, each worth $100,000 in purse money.
The Quarter Company LLC’s Massive Roar held off a rally at the top of the lane from runner-up Jet N G, scoring his second consecutive win and first stakes victory when crossing the wire in front in the first division of the $100,000 Jack Cole Stakes.
Ridden to victory by Alfredo Juarez, Jr., for SunRay Park’s current leading thoroughbred trainer Todd Fincher, Massive Roar overcame a wide trip from his outside post en route to his sixth win from 18 career starts.
The New Mexico-bred son of Sway Away was always in contention despite his outside post and wide trip. He was never far back of the early pace, set by On A Warpath and Phantomoftheopere, who raced as a team through an opening half-mile in 46.98 seconds.
Those two were engulfed by the winner midway around the far turn, while Jet N G, ridden by Jorge Carreno also began his rally.
Those two battled briefly at the top of the lane before Juarez found another gear from Massive Roar, who opened up in the final furlong to win by 2 lengths, stopping the timer in 1 minute, 18.11 seconds for 6½ furlongs.
It’s the second trip to the winners circle this season for Massive Roar, who won an allowance race here on Saturday, April 8. He was second in the Mount Cristo Rey Handicap on March 12 at Sunland Park. Massive Roar has finished no worse than third in each of his six starts in 2023 and has won three races from four starts in his career at SunRay Park.
For Fincher, he continues to have a strong season, saddling his sixth winner from 12 starters this season. Last season’s leading trainer at Sunland Park, Fincher has been an imposing presence on the backstretch this season.
Sent off as the 8-to-5 post time favorite, Massive Roar returned $5.20 to his winning backers. The $2 exacta with the winner and Jet N G netted $17. Delbert Too, with Alejandro Medellin aboard finished third, with Attiliano rounding out the top four finishers under jockey Felipe Valdez.
Massive Roar has amassed earnings of more than $330,000.
Bye Bye Matty P broke fast from the starting gate and was too tough to catch, winning the second division of the $100,000 Jack Cole Stakes in wire-to-wire fashion under jockey Christian Ramos.
Owned by Orlando Munoz and trained to victory by Andres Gonzalez, Bye Bye Matty P was a length in front of his competition just seconds out of the gate, chased into the backstretch by Probate and jockey Jorge Carreno through a quick opening quarter-mile in 24.24 seconds. Bye Bye Matty P got a bit of a breather on the backstretch and had something left as the field turned for home.
The 4-year-old son of Attila’s Storm drew off inside the final furlong to win by 2¾ lengths, racing 6½ furlongs in a time of 1 minute, 17.77 seconds.
Bye Bye Matty P is 2-for-2 at SunRay Park. In 2021, he won the Ken Kendrick Memorial Stakes here as a 2-year-old. He was fourth in his most recent start, the Mount Cristo Rey Handicap last month at Sunland Park. Saturday’s win improves his lifetime record to five wins from 13 career starts with earnings approaching $249,000.
Sent off at odds of 5.70-to-1, Bye Bye Matty P returned $13.40 to his winning backers. Storm Bayou came on late to finish a non-threatening second with Juarez, Jr. aboard. The $2 exacta with the top pair paid $66.60.
Evacuee finished third with jockey Felipe Valdez aboard, with Probate fading to round out the top four finishers.
Racing resumes Sunday at SunRay Park with a 10-race card that has a first post of 2:15 p.m.